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Chemical Industry’s War on Science and Public Health (Part 2)

From Conflicts of Interest to Scientific Fraud and Moral Monstrosity

Recent events provide highly revealing examples of the chemical industry’s arrogance and total disregard for public health, the environment, and human decency. An overview:

I) Disenfranchisement

I’ll start with excerpts of Sandy Bauer’s Philadelphia Inquirer story, which raises two important points in the debate about a bill that would allow the chemical industry to be involved in developing drinking water standards and the science of virtually all other DEP air, water, soil, wildlife, and public health and environmental standards.

Try this one on for size:

Hal Bozarth, of the Chemistry Council of New Jersey, supported the legislation. He said that industry and commercial interests were “disenfranchised from participating in a process which affects them greatly.”

Disenfranchised?  Really?

I thought it was way over the top and really disgraceful for that gun nut to claim that “if he were alive, Martin Luther King would agree with me” –

But Mr. Bozarth is treading on similar insane territory in equating chemical industry lobbying with voting rights. Webster’s:


To deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially: to deprive of the right to vote

What’s next Hal, one molecule, one vote?

[BTW, Bozarth is flat out lying here – the DWQI is subject to the Open Public Meetings Act, conducts its business openly and  transparently, and provides ample opportunity for the chemical industry to submit their scientific and policy concerns into the process. Following the DWQI deliberations, the chemical industry has another bite at the apple before, during, and after the public notice and comment period required for rule making. For anyone that wants to gets into the15 step  weeds, see this: Running the Regulatory Gauntlet]

II) Conflict of Interest

Bauer’s story also opened the issue of conflict of interest, a debate that is raging at the national level as well.

In testimony Thursday — before the Assembly’s environment subcommittee approved the measure — five environmental groups vigorously opposed the measure.

Bill Wolfe of NJ PEER said that adding industry to the board would “set up conflicts of interests.”

Hal Bozarth testified that his bill was similar to what is going on nationally at EPA, which confirms my argument that the attack we are seeing now in NJ is part of a coordinated national campaign by the chemical industry.

So, again I thought I provide a flavor of that debate on the conflict of interest and scientific integrity front. For excellent analysis, see:


III) Monstrous Ethics – From Blackmail to Bribery

Last month, I wrote about the chemical industry’s threat to shut down NJ chemical plants and lay off 5,000 workers if the Coast Guard and railroad regulators did not re-open the rail line through Paulsboro, see:  Chemical Blackmail In Toxic Train Wreck

Despite the fact that no official accident report was yet complete by the NTSB and the bridge that caused the train derailment was not replaced, government officials caved in to that threat and the line was reopened the next day after  a Friday meeting between government officials and the chemical industry.

Now just this week, taking that blackmail a step further, on page one of the Philadelphia Inquirer I read that Conrail was offering bribes to local residents:

Conrail offers settlements to Paulsboro residents

Conrail is offering cash settlements to Paulsboro residents and businesses impacted by November’s leak of toxic vinyl chloride from a ruptured tanker car – if they waive their right to sue the company for health problems they might discover later in life. […]

Lawyers representing residents who have already sued Conrail lambasted the railroad company for what they said is an attempt to take advantage of people in an economically distressed town.

Mark R. Cuker, an attorney representing more than 50 Paulsboro residents in a suit filed last month against Conrail, described the settlement offer as “draconian.”

By signing the agreement, “you are done, no matter what happens to you the rest of your life,” he said. “What they’re doing is pretty outrageous.”

Yes, it certainly is outrageous.

So, we are calling on Assemblyman Burzichelli abandon his chemical industry bill.

We also demand that the Christie Administration reverse course on a destructive policy agenda that ranges from outsourcing and privatizing DEP science to a Science Advisory Board and a de facto  a moratorium on regulations and environmental standards, to deregulation and a host of related pro-industry regulatory policies we have been writing about here now for ver 3 years.

And we call on environmental groups, media, and Democrats to ramp up their accountability efforts.

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